KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia Airlines should be allowed to operate without any interference by the government, least of all a political party that is religion-centric.
The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) also pointed out that MAS, being the nation’s flag carrier, plays a vital role engaging with the world, and should not be out to please a minority.
Tan Kok Liang, the Matta president, when rebuking a PAS leader who had repeatedly called for to stop serving alcohol on its flights, said the airline should offer a complimentary ticket to the complainant so that he can see for himself whether the behaviour of passengers is comparable to that of nightclub patrons.
“I believe those who manage airlines are professionals and place passenger safety above all else,” said Tan in a statement adding that passengers deemed a threat to others will be apprehended and face legal action, regardless of whether they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or have mental health issues.
Riduan Mohd Nor, a PAS member had called for a ban on liquor to be served during long-haul flights, saying that planes are not entertainment centres or nightclubs, where passengers can do as they please.
Tan said this in response to Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, who stated in a written reply in Parliament that the government would let airline companies decide on the matter.
In a statement issued, Tan said Malaysia Airlines had stopped serving alcohol on flights shorter than three hours since Jan 1 last year.
“On long-haul flights, Malaysia Airlines has a broader profile of customers and to cater to this profile, alcoholic beverages will continue to be served to passengers who request it.
“As such, it should operate without interference by the government, least of all from a political party,” he added.